When City Island Seafood Shack was opened for business in Morris Park earlier this year in March, the influx of customers exceeded the owners’ expectations.
“We were jammed. It was during Lent,” said Susan Hayes, owner of City Island Seafood Shack. “We’ve had a great response from the community and we thank them so much. They’ve been friendly and supportive.”
However, since their initial reception, the seafood joint, located at 2049 Williamsbridge Road, business has been lagging, according to Hayes.
Now, Hayes and her 15-member staff are working hard to reach old and new customers and offer the best quality service in the Bronx.
“We’re hoping that there will be more customers during the winter, which I think is our time since it’s the holidays,” Hayes said.
A City Island resident for 51 years, Hayes owns and operates a business on the island as well, the City Island Diner.
Hayes and her brother, John McGowen, decided it was time to bring the taste of City Island to mainland Bronx, she said.
“There’s plenty of seafood on City Island and we don’t need anymore there,” Hayes said. “We thought it would be a good idea, this way people wouldn’t have to sit in traffic or in the winter when some of the stores are closed, they can order here because we deliver.”
Customers can place their orders via delivery services such as Doordash, Grub Hub and Uber Eats; on the weekend, the shack delivers the orders themselves — a service that is not provided from City Island to the mainland.
However, Hayes said they encourage customers to visit the takeout shack, that has four wooden tables and benches, where they can sit and have a good meal in a warm friendly environment.
“It’s cheaper when you come here and don’t have to pay for delivery services. It’s a nice atmosphere,” Hayes said.
The shack offers its delicious signature dish, a low country boil, that includes snow crabs, shrimp, clams, mussels, sausage, corn on the cob, rice and butter mixed with a special seasoning boiled together.
Its biggest seller on the menu is fried jumbo shrimp, along with seasoned skin-on fries, Hayes said. Other food items include: salmon, shrimp scampi, and basket orders.
“We’re trying to emulate City Island but we also want to do it a little shacky with some lobster grilled cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese, little crab cakes and crab cake sandwiches,” Hayes said.
The shack’s seafood dishes have also been featured at the Bronx Night Market. Additionally, Hayes has been working on creating a strong social media presence for the business, handing out menu’s and mailings, as well.
They’re also looking forward to preparing meals for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as The Eve, an Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve which features a variety of seafood dishes.
“We thought about expanding [the business] but we’ll see how this [venture] goes first,” Hayes said. “We gotta get this one off the ground first.”